Whitall, Tatum and Company Paperweight

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Description (Brief)
In the 1700s, paperweights made from textured stone or bronze were part of the writer’s tool kit, which also included a quill pen and stand, inkpot, and blotter. By the mid-1800s, decorative paperweights produced by glassmakers in Europe and the United States became highly desired collectibles.
Decorative glass paperweights reflected the 19th-century taste for intricate, over-the-top designs. Until the spread of textiles colorized with synthetic dyes, ceramics and glass were among the few objects that added brilliant color to a 19th-century Victorian interior. The popularity of these paperweights in the 1800s testifies to the sustained cultural interest in hand craftsmanship during an age of rapid industrialization.
Whitall, Tatum & Company of Millville, New Jersey was formed in 1901 and employed first rate craftsmen who created outstanding paperweights.
This Whitall, Tatum and Company paperweight features a powdery white sailboat and blue water suspended vertically in a clear glass ball and is attributed to Michael Kane. Kane is known best for his “frit” work--the act of fusing powdered glass to create an image or scene, as in the paper thin ship in this paperweight.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1900
Whitall, Tatum and Company
place made
United States: New Jersey, Millville
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
overall: 3 27/32 in x 3 1/2 in; 9.779 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
Mrs. Florence E. Bushee
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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